The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken Corn Chowder

As we get farther into fall, I'm wanting to make more soups. It just seems like soup is perfect for dinner on a fall evening, when it's cold outside and you want to feel all toasty inside.

This soup has a somewhat creamy broth, and for some reason, that just equals yummy comfort food soup to me. Chowder seems to be a little hardier than a lot of soups. Perfect for making soup a meal! I think it turned out pretty well, and I hope you do too. :)

-4 cups chicken broth
-2 cups water
-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
-1 or 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed, depending on how much you like potatoes in your soup
-1 can whole kernel corn, drained
-1 can cream-style corn
-1 tablespoon onion powder
-1.5 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup reserved
-4 tablespoons corn starch

In a large pot over high heat, bring the chicken broth and water to a boil.
Add the chicken pieces and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the two cans of corn and stir. Add in the onion powder and stir to incorporate.
Continue cooking another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium high.

In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and 1/2 cup reserved heavy cream. Slowly add to the soup while stirring. This will help thicken the soup. Slowly add in the rest of the cream while stirring.
Let the soup cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until it's thickened up a bit, about 10-15 minutes. Stir it occasionally to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Serve the soup hot and enjoy!
We had some toasty bread to go with ours. Yum!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cheater Shepherd's Pie

I made this the other day, kind of out of the leftover food I had at my house. I wanted something hearty but not overly dramatic. This fit the bill. I've made Shepherd's Pie before, but this was just slightly easier in method, so it worked for me. Hope you enjoy!

-1 lb ground beef
-3 tablespoons flour
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup milk
-1.5 teaspoons onion powder
-1/2 cup veggies (I used peas and carrots), chopped small
-2 russet potatoes, for mashing
-2 tablespoons butter
-1/4 cup milk

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Scrub the potatoes, leaving the skin on, then cube them and add them to the boiling water. Cook the potatoes until fork-tender, then drain the water. Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes. Add the butter and milk to smooth it out just a bit.
You can also season it with a little salt and pepper if you want. Set the potatoes aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, cook the ground beef over medium high heat in a skillet until no longer pink.
Drain the meat, reserving the fat from cooking (the "grease"). Set the meat aside for later. Return the grease to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium/medium low. Whisk in the flour to make a roux.
Cook the roux for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cream and whisk to combine. The sauce should begin to thicken up a bit.
Add the milk to thin it out slightly, and whisk to incorporate. Add the onion powder and stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently.
It will thicken up a little bit again. Add the veggies to the sauce
and stir to combine. Add the meat to the sauce and stir to coat.

Serve the mashed potatoes on the plate, and top with the beef mixture.
Enjoy the yummy goodness!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Baked Tortellini in Rose Sauce

I love rose sauce (pronounced ro-zay). It's a wonderful creamy tomato sauce that is just yummy. I also love tortellini. Mmm. Put them together with a bunch of yummy melted mozzarella cheese, and oh my goodness...lovely.

As we all know, pasta is my weakness, so it comes as no surprise that I have yet another pasta dish to share with you. For some reason, baked pasta seems to make the day better. Haha. I love me some pasta, topped with a yummy sauce, but there's something about baking it with melted cheese on top that just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Yum.

This was super easy and super yummy, and I hope you enjoy it. :)

-fresh tortellini pasta (in the deli section of the store, usually)
-your favorite brand of tomato pasta sauce (I only used half the jar, but I was making a smaller amount)
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cook the tortellini according to package directions until just al dente. Do NOT overcook, since baking the pasta in sauce will continue to soften it up. No mushy pasta, people! Drain and set aside.

In a sauce pan, combine the tomato sauce and cream.
Heat over medium low heat until warm and well incorporated. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Pour into a baking dish
and top with the shredded mozzarella.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 350 F, or until the cheese is melted and everything is hot and delicious.
Serve and enjoy!
Toasty garlic bread is a great addition. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

I was craving comfort food, and for some reason, it occurred to me to make Chicken Fried Steak. I've never made it before. But, I've made fried chicken, so I figured it couldn't be too terribly hard. Haha.

It wasn't really very difficult, but I will make some improvements next time around. This time I used a sirloin, pounded thin. Next time I think I'll use cube steak. I also think I might have overcooked the meat just slightly. It happens occasionally. Haha. But overall, this was really good, and I will make it again sometime.

I also made the gravy from scratch, and will give you the recipe. But don't feel like you have to make it from scratch...using one of those mixes will work fine too. There are some that are pretty tasty, so don't worry about that part. :)

-Steak, either sirloin or cube, enough to feed everyone
-1/2 cup flour, for dredging
-egg wash, for dredging (1 or 2 eggs, whisked together with a splash of water or milk)
-any seasonings you'd care to add to the flour for flavor in the "breading" (at least salt and pepper)
-veggie oil, for frying (I think I used about 1/4 cup; enough to cover the bottom of your skillet)

For gravy:
-reserved drippings from frying pan
-3 tablespoons flour
-1 cup milk
-salt and pepper to taste

In two shallow dishes, spread out your flour and egg wash. Add the oil to the skillet and heat over medium/medium high heat. Let the oil completely heat up before trying to fry the steak.

Pound out the steak to a thin sheet (approximately 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick). Cut into individual serving sizes before dredging. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Lay the steak into the flour and coat evenly on both sides. Move the steak from the flour to the egg wash, coating evenly on both sides. Return the steak to the flour once again and coat evenly. If your oil is already hot, go ahead and place the steak in the hot oil. If it's not hot yet set it aside on a plate until the oil is hot.

Let the steak get brown on one side, then flip it over to brown the other side. The thin-ness of the steak will make sure it cooks all the way through by the time both sides are browned. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Repeat this process for all the steak.

You should have some oil left in the skillet, with some brown bits from the steak frying process.
Perfect. Reduce the heat to medium low. Whisk in the 3 tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Cook the rue for a few minutes, then add in the milk, a little at a time, and whisk to incorporate.
Add the salt and pepper for seasoning. Cook the gravy for another several minutes, stirring frequently, letting it thicken up and get yummy.
If the gravy gets too thick, just add a little more milk, a tablespoon or so at a time, to thin it out until it's the desired consistency. It's amazing over the steak, and over mashed potatoes, which I made to accompany this meal. Yum.

Plate the steak and anything else you're serving with it (I did mashed potatoes and green bean casserole). Spoon the yummy gravy over the steak and enjoy!